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OMI Tracks Changes in Mexico’s Offshore Gas Flaring Activity

 OMI Tracks Changes in Mexico’s Offshore Gas Flaring Activity

Geophysical Research Letters recently published a paper (Zhang et al., 2019) on the use of OMI SO2 and NO2 data to quantify and track gas flaring from Mexico’s offshore oil fields. Gas flaring leads to economic loss and emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases, and there are global efforts to reduce gas flaring. In this paper, SO2 and NO2 emissions from the oil fields are estimated from OMI data, and then converted to flared gas volume based on typical emission factors.

The 13-year record (left) from the study shows an increase in gas flaring until 2008 associated with enhanced oil production, and a decline afterwards due to more gas utilization. The method developed in this study can independently evaluate progress in oil/gas regulations and policy implementation.

  • Figure : (Top) Annual flared gas volume estimates for offshore Mexico based on OMI SO2 and NO2 data show similar trends as the reported flaring. (Bottom) The fraction of gas that is flared has decreased over time due to an expanding capacity of gas utilization.

References: Zhang et al. (2019), Geophysical Research Letters, 46, 1879–1888. 2018GL081145.